David Baugh, a well-known public defender of Richmond-area death penalty cases, has resigned from a disciplinary committee of the Virginia State Bar citing discontent with the organization.
In an April 9 letter to Edward L. “Ned” Davis, counsel to the Virginia State Bar, Baugh accuses the office of “a systematic and historical practice of applying differing standards of ethical compliance to prosecutors which works as a disservice to prosecutors, the profession, the perception of the attorneys of the Commonwealth to other bars and, most importantly, to the public. The result is an ignorance of certain legal standards by many judges, many prosecutors and a disdain for the law.”
In particular, Baugh says, the disciplinary committee and the bar fail to pursue Brady violations, or cases where one side fails to hand over evidence that might negate the defendant's guilt, lessen the punishment or impeach a government witness.
“I do regret his decision and frankly I don't want Mr. Baugh to resign from the district committee,” Davis says, adding that he disagrees with Baugh's accusations. “He's been a stalwart and we can't afford to lose a man of his character and ability.”
The district committee reviews investigations of attorney misconduct in metro Richmond, Petersburg and the Tri-Cities region, south to Emporia. The committee has the authority to issue reprimands, but not to suspend or disbar.